By John Lee
The vehicle registration fee increase passed by the Clackamas County commissioners is not about $5 and actually has very little to do with the Sellwood Bridge.
It does have everything to do with being able to raise your taxes (by fees) without a vote of the people and sets a new precedent of allowing a county to tax (fee) its citizens to pay for infrastructure designed, owned, and operated by another county.
In 2009, the then supermajority Democratic Legislature passed a large transportation bill (HB 2001) which allows:
• Counties with a population more than 350,000 (Clackamas, Washington, and Multnomah) to adopt a county vehicle registration fee (VRF) without a voter approval.
• Counties with less than 350,000 to adopt a county VRF only with voter approval.
After July 1, 2013, a county VRF can be increased to equal, but not exceed, the state VRF - currently $43.00 per year.
The five Clackamas County Commissioners, then all Democrats, passed Ordinance 06-2010 in December after significant public opposition. Before you vote, please consider:
• The Sellwood Bridge will be built or repaired with or without Clackamas fees.
Clackamas County had no significant input into the design, location or cost for this bridge.
• The bridge currently has two traffic lanes, the new design still has only two lanes and all the additional width is devoted to pedestrians and bikes.
• The study that states that greater than 70 percent of the traffic on the bridge is to/from Clackamas is over 10 years old and has been thoroughly debunked by The Oregonian.
• There is no 'sunset' or end date for this fee - even after the $22 million has been taxed.
The Clackamas County Commissioners have publicly discussed, at many forums, increasing this fee and providing the required 40 percent to Clackamas cities for their transportation needs.
The Clackamas County Republican Party urges you to vote no on Measure 3-372.
John Lee is chairman of the Clackamas County Republican Party.